Taking you through AQA A2 History of the Soviet Union in as little time and as little pain as possible... see you on results day!


16 June 2010, AM

4 June 2010

Unit Four - Collapse of the USSR

Only four cards left... we can do this!

Growing threat of nationalism

- LAVER: "A timebomb waiting to explode"
- increasing discontent with Moscow's economic policies
- Gorbachev had no real understanding of how to handle nationalist problems
- threat especially evident where nationalist tradition was strongest

Moves towards separation

- Armenian discontent thorughout Soviet period
- war broke out in the late 1980s with Karbakh declaring independence in 1991

- March for independence, April 1989, attacked by Soviet troops
- Sovereignty declared Nov 1989
- 99% vote for independence, March 1991

- signalled real collapse of Societ grip, 1990s

- large moves for independence
- chain of hands in peaceful protest

Was nationalism a significant cause in the collapse of the USSR?

'New Thinking' Foreign Policy
- linked to perestroika
- disarmament
- Eastern Europe allowed to secede
- Global Strategy - membership of UN for eg
- 3rd World Relief ended


- Had great popular support
- Angered Gorbachev because of radicalism
- May 1990, elected President of Russia
- 28th Congress, June 1990, rifts over Gorbachev's economic policy occur and he resigns from the party

The Coup

- 18 Aug 1991, Gorbachev held under hosue arrest at his holiday home in the crimea
- Gorbachev refuses to back dwon
- plotters declare a state of emergency, renouncing the union treaty
- needed popular support, which they thought they'd have
- Yeltsin called for resistance to the coup and declared a presidential edict accusing the plotters of treason under Russian law
- Yeltsin declares control of all Russia
- Plotters arrested

- plotters didn't arrest Yeltsin
- didn't have military support
- media informed people of resistance to the coup
- ordinary people rallied behind Yeltsin
- there was little left for the plotters to take over
- Gorbachev refused to back down

- Gorbachev didn't learn from this
- Balance of Power shifts in favour of Yeltsin
- Nationalist forces in republics boosted by confusion at the centre
- 24 Aug - Gorbachev resigned as head of party
- 29 Aug - CPSU banned
- uncertainty leaves Yeltsin in power

How significant was the coup in the collapse of the USSR?

Assesment of Gorbachev

- unpopular
- VOLKOGONOV: "the last Leninist"

- not firing Yeltsin sooner
- never understood nationalist feeling
- substanceless policies ("slogans")
- personality, Raisa, etc
- concern with Foreign Policy
- refusal to work with Yeltsin
- failure to recognise seriousness of coup

- recognised need for reform
- negotiated peaceful break-away of Baltic States
- ended cold war
- chose colleagues for ability
- didn't use force

What was Gorbachev's role in the collapse of the USSR?

Why did the USSR collapse?

- Nationalism
- Economy
- Gorbachev's errors
- Growing discontent
- Political corruption

Which was the main reason?

YESSSSSSSS... we made it. Course revised.

I'll be back soon with thematic assessments and sample essays - but, for now, take some time off. Relax, have a cuppa (again), and watch some terrible TV. (: Congrats x

- HistGrrl x

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